When a spot was chosen for the first well at Los Pinos, several boys were given the task of clearing the brush surrounding the area with machetes and hoes. The work was hot and hard and the boys did not have much heart for it. One lad clearly did not like the idea of staying beyond the time expected in order to finish, and his scowl at the insistence that he stay was pointed and darkly hostile. At 14, he was small but powerfully built. He stayed but he was sullen and the other boys gave him a wide birth.
When Gary spoke to the maintenance chief about his need for just 1 boy the next day and a little of Donaldo’s attitude, he just shrugged and said, “Yes, he is a troubled boy.” The next morning, Donaldo was the one sent to fulfill the need for one boy at the rig. As days went by and he watched and helped Gary, he began to get interested in the drilling and he began to change. Soon he was staying far past the time for him to go to class. He carefully would check the buttons on the bit at bailing and he was ready to help in the repetitive tasks that are a part of cable drilling.
The shoes he wore to work were old dress shoes at least 3 sizes too large for his feet. Gary and I had the director take the lad and outline his feet on a piece of paper. When we went to Poptun, we found a pair of CAT boots and some suitable socks for him. We told him they were for his hard work and he seemed happy to receive them, but the next day he wore the same old shoes to work. We said nothing but we understood, when at lunch, he came to the cafeteria in his boots with his good school uniform on. They were far too good for work. The first new shoes he had ever owned. He worked hard and happily in his old shoes.
Through an interpreter, I asked the director about him. I was told that the police had brought him as an infant to the Receiving Center in Guatemala City, after he was found in an abandoned house. No one knew his name or age and no one ever inquired about him and the police could never find out anything about him. At age five, he left the receiving center and came to Los Pinos. At twelve he was taken to the judge to get documents and he was allowed to choose his name. He chose the name of his house father, and so became Oscar Donaldo Lopez. He is the official driller’s helper for the Well Project and one small life that has been touched by the Guatemala well Project.
If you would like to help, Please contact Gary or Lynn Bartholomew at 509-466-5075 or 509-466-5134